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Critics: Skirt smoothing


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I've seen quite a bit of criticism on this board that RJ overused the 'skirt smoothing' in his books, and I believe this criticism is undeserved.


In an embaressing situation (and boy are the books full of such scenarios), what else would a girl do when she wishes to avoid directly observing someone/something? Smoothing your skirts is an excellent distraction which appears somewhat normal. You can't start combing your hair or applying cosmetics in such scenarios.


It is similar to fiddling with buttons or checking your bag for something you know isn't there just to pass the time in an embaressing situation.

I know it gets irritating at times but there are few alternatives.

Please don't fault RJ for that.

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I agree.

I know when I've been in an embarrassing or uncomfortable situation I start fiddling with my hair and re-doing it to occupy my hands.heh.

Plus, as someone that wears a skirt every now, I have found myself smoothing my skirt after I sit down to make sure it isn't mussed.

Or when I get up from a chair I smooth my skirt to make sure it is gathered nicely around me.

I do this all the time after I sit down or when I get up.


SO, with the way all the women dress in the WOT, those elaborate skirts or dresses, I can see them fussing more than usual.. ;D

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Yeah, nowadays people obsess over their cellphones, gadgets etcetera... They wear sunglasses, ball caps. I know, as a man, I do several things out of habit in awkward situations. I try to be humorous. If there's a television on nearby, I watch what's on there and pretend I'm not listening to a nearby conversation, when that's exactly what I am doing and very interestedly. I pretend to notice something minute about something nearby for example:

I'm standing near some cars and I try to read a sticker or a license plate.


A lot of people in Western culture note that someone who can look you in the eye and talk to you is generally more confident and trustworthy, but I just think that's creepy.


Imagine someone looking you right in the eye the whole time you're talking to them. I gotta say, even if I know this person well, I don't really dig that. I always associate that with too much intimacy, like if someone's looking into my eyes for too long, they're looking to get lucky, which can be very disturbing, when it's say, your best friend or a relative.


So what do you do instead to keep it even? You fidget. Men do it. Women do it. It's all part of nonverbal communication. People don't just sit across from one another and stare each other's faces like robots. They make gestures. They offer each other something to drink. They do things depending on where they are at the moment. They make small talk, laugh, tell jokes and stories and conversate.


Here's a classic man fidget when in the presence of another man who is a fairly close friend:

Men will often feel more comfortable sitting side by side watching something else together, rather than sitting across from one another looking in each other's eyes. They will speak philosophically in observation of minutely unimportant topics. In momentary pauses in conversation they'll exclaim, "Sooo yeah, anyway...". They'll stretch an arm or a shoulder, twist their necks trying to work out some invisible kink or a knot in a muscle.

And the ultimate, male bonding gesture...The surreptitious adjusting of the groin region.


Don't ask me why we do this, I'm not even sure most men really know. Sure, it may be to actually adjust underwear that is irritating the skin. It may be that some offending piece of cloth is "riding up" as it were, but what possesses a man to basically scratch his balls in close proximity to another man and in such a way that the other man has to see it...It's often mysterious for me to even grasp.

I can only surmise that we primitively like to use this gesture to prove that yes, I do possess genitalia that protrude outside of my body...and this proves I am male.


So, I guess the short message I'd like to convey here is that you should be happy that RJ didn't inundate us with imagery of Rand, Perrin and Mat adjusting themselves while making bets on how many knives Min can hide on her person and where she would hide all of them.



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